Posted on 4 March 2019

Upgrading the homes of vulnerable families to cope with harsh weather

An oPt Humanitarian Fund Success Story

Ibtisam is a 46-year-old mother of two from Deir al Balah in the Gaza Strip. Until recently, she was struggling to care for her family, including her husband who lives with a disability, and to manage the family’s home, which needed repair and rehabilitation.

“Our house was in bad condition and could not protect us anymore, neither from the heat of summer, nor from the cold of winter, not even from rodent attacks,” she said. “It was unlivable and not suitable to receive guests… I feel that some part of my dignity and my children’s dignity were collapsing within the walls of this house.”

Ibtisam said that the poor living conditions affected her mental health and exposed her children to an unhealthy environment. She felt isolated from her relatives and the broader community.

Project name: Self-repair and upgrade of vulnerable households’ substandard shelters in the Gaza Strip to prepare them for harsh weather conditions
Cluster: Shelter and Non-Food Items
Number of beneficiaries: 613
Benefitting communities: Deir al Balah and Rafah 
Allocation: US$307,971 
Implementing partner: Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED)
Start year: 2018 

With funding from the Humanitarian Fund for the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt HF), the Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED), in partnership with Ma’an, rehabilitated Ibtisam’s house to improve their living conditions and better withstand extreme weather. A new floor and ceiling as well as a latrine, a shower and a water tank were installed; doors were added; the external walls were fixed; the roof was sealed to prevent leaks; the kitchen was repaired, providing a sink and a cleanable preparation counter; outlets, switches and fixtures were replaced; and the house was connected to the water, sewage and electricity networks. With the cash assistance she received, Ibtisam was able to buy carpets, dishes, a gas cylinder, kitchen tools and a fan.

Ibtisam preparing coffee in her new kitchen

“I am feeling so happy and confident because I retrieved my family’s dignity and health,” Ibtisam concluded.

Ibtisam’s family is one of 86 whose residences were upgraded through this project, improving the living conditions of a total of 613 people.

* This story was contributed by ACTED (Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development)